Saint-14 and Lord Shaxx stood shoulder to shoulder outside The Ether Tank, Spider's establishment in the Eliksni Quarter. They were kitted out with full armor and a close-quarters arsenal. Shaxx unholstered his sidearm and confirmed that the clip was full. Saint stared at the bar's entrance and slowly spun the cylinder on his hand cannon with a methodical click, click, click.

They glanced at each other and shared a nod. They were ready for trouble.

When the Titans stepped through the saloon doors, the whole crowd froze. The Guardians towered above the seated patrons, their helmeted heads the blank visages of death. They slowly stalked the perimeter of the room, moving in opposite directions, optimizing their fields of fire, prioritizing their targets.

The Humans in the room slowly crept toward the exit and, once clear of the doorway, bolted into the night. The Eliksni edged their many hands toward wire rifles and Arc spears.

There was a moment of silence before the coming storm.

* * *

A short time later, disarray filled the room: Eliksni lay strewn across the floor. Dregs cowered behind the bar.

In the center of the chaos stood three Wretches, facing off against Saint-14—his fist crackled with Arc energy. The Wretches approached in a line, holding hands to create a chain. Then slowly, solemnly, the two Wretches on either end reached out in unison and grabbed Saint's fist.

The Wretches' cloth wrappings sizzled, and the lenses on their helmets flared as the Arc coursed through them. However, they did not break contact, and the circuit remained intact.

From a nearby table, Shaxx's massive voice counted out, "…SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE, TEN!"

Saint let his Light ebb, and the Wretches staggered backward. There was a moment of silence before Shaxx boomed, "And the winner is… THE SKIFFBLADES!"

Halsiks, a Vandal in service to the Guardian, leapt into the arms of the Wretches, and the four of them bounced up and down in jubilation. An Eliksni lying on the floor feebly lifted their upper arms in celebration.

"The next round," Shaxx continued, "is on the great Titan, the Violet King… THE SAINT!"

Saint-14 nodded grudgingly to the Dreg behind the bar, who was peering over the edge in apprehension. Any Eliksni who could still walk began mobbing the bar for a concoction at the Titan's expense.

Halsiks approached Saint and tapped at his metal breastplate playfully. He drummed a complex polyrhythm and chittered excitedly.

"Yes, you're welcome," Saint replied dourly. "But don't get used to it! I will not fall for the same scheme again."

"Today will live in infamy!" Shaxx declared, clapping Saint on the back. "The day the Hero of Six Fronts was bested by three Wretches and eight liters of rotgut!"

Saint harrumphed. "This is why I prefer pigeons to people," he muttered.


Category: Book: Between Stolen Stars



Category: Eliksni

VIII: And Also Light

Vance: Canary

Category: Saint-14


The Wise-Woman's Tale

Category: Lord Shaxx

VII: Joining

Survivor's Epitaph

Category: Six Fronts

Wild Hunt Vest